ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Jun. 18)
Fifteen Reform rabbis were among 37 demonstrators arrested here today when they sought to recite Hebrew prayers at a motel involved in a desegregation controversy. The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a Negro desegregation leader, led the delegation in prayer. The rabbis arrived here yesterday to join the Rev. Martin Luther King’s desegregation drive. They came from the convention in Atlantic City of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.
The motel manager, James Brock, shoved the rabbis and abused them physically, stating “you are not going to pray here. This is private property.” He hustled them into police cars with the help of police who arrested the rabbis. Four police squad cars filled with rabbis were driven to Jail. With the first arrests the rabbis began reciting a Psalm, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
While the rabbis were being pushed, shoved, and dragged into police cars, Negro and white demonstrators jumped into the motel’s “white only” swimming pool. They were then beaten by police and arrested along with the rabbis. The rabbis were charged with conspiracy to violate state laws, trespassing and disorderly conduct.